How to Bring Your Career Portal into the 21st Century

Updated on: 17. November 2023

In a recent report from Aberdeen Group, researcher Madeline Laurano highlights the surprising shift between career portal’s of the past and present. The report, titled ‘Is Your Career Portal Stuck…

In a recent report from Aberdeen Group, researcher Madeline Laurano highlights the surprising shift between career portal’s of the past and present. The report, titled ‘Is Your Career Portal Stuck in the 80s?’ examines how the economic shift has affected the recruitment industry and more specifically how modern career portals heavily contribute to modern talent acquisition.

How to Bring Your Career Portal into the 21st Century

In an era where job boards are losing their clout at an alarmingly fast rate (40% of organisations believe that job boards will be replaced in the next 5 years), career portals are naturally becoming an area of serious interest. According to Laurano, 50% of companies plan to increase their investment in career portals over the next year. So how’s it done, and how can smaller business keep up to scratch?

Back to the Basics

The career portal, first and foremost, is and always has been a place for job seekers to visit in order to find out about latest vacancies and apply for them. So what’s changed?

First of all we need to acknowledge the fact that the economy has shifted dramatically over the past decade, skill shortages are at an all time high: Last year 30% of organizations identified scarcity of key skills as top pressures in their talent acquisition efforts.

In short companies aren’t struggling to find employees, but they are struggling to find the professionals they need to accomplish their business goals

With this in mind job boards are overwhelmingly filled with a divergence of apparently under-qualified job seekers and increasingly desperate employers. As a result, companies are looking outside of the box in order to source and hire the talent they need.

Employer Branding

Perhaps one of the biggest offshoots of modern day recruitment is the development of employer branding as a hiring tool.

Amongst others, big name brands such as Pizza Hut, Red Bull, Starbucks and Google are actively putting strategies into place which ensure that the company and employer brand are somewhat synonymous.

For many, active sourcing via Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and the like is standard practice, or as Laurano eloquently puts it:

“For these organisations it’s much less about blasting jobs to a group of individuals and more about building relationships, showcasing the brand and engaging candidates”

Evidently online presence and engagement with your audience is key. Which brings us back to what some would call the original online presence, the career portal.

How can the career portal reflect an employer brand?

Candidate Experience

Candidate experience is essentially what it all boils down to. The candidate is no longer a commodity, they are the proverbial female hen and employers the fan-tailed peacock. The application experience is the difference between you and your competitor, and the career portal is one of the key areas where it is most vital to get it right.

(Not least of all, it’s the one place where your candidates are specifically looking for a reason to join your company).

Unfortunately a mere 33% of organizations believe they have an engaging career portal, and even more surprisingly only 11% of companies say they understand what it takes to strengthen the applicant experience.

So where are we going wrong?

According to Aberdeen Group candidates look for three main qualities when considering a prospective employer:

  • Challenging work
  • A Great place to work
  • Company culture

To sum it up in a sentence your average candidate is saying “I want to work hard, but enjoy work”. Fair enough, but how can this be conveyed through a career portal, I hear you ask.

First of all let me ask you a question, have you ever tried applying to one of your own jobs?

Try it and see what your career portal is saying about you, consider the following:

  • My career portal is linked to my website and social networks
  • My career portal is easy to navigate
  • The job vacancies are up to date
  • The job descriptions reflect my employer brand
  • The design, pictures, photographs etc reflect my employer brand
  • It’s simple to apply for a job
  • The application process is quick and uncomplicated
  • Candidates promptly receive notification of application

Ideally you want to be ticking all of these boxes. Of course, many don’t but that’s why articles like this and “Is Your Career Portal Stick in the 80’s?” exist.

Go Mobile

Between 2013 and 2014 mobile talent acquisition tools leapt from 16% to 30%, almost double that of the previous year. Evidently more and more candidates are looking for jobs via mobile but unfortunately it’s just not as widely available as demand would have it. According to LinkedIn, only 13% of recruitments leaders have invested enough in mobile-friendly recruiting.

For some, the thought of adjusting to mobile is too daunting but with 94% of candidates expecting to at least view vacancies on mobile, it’s worth making the leap.

Be Social

It’s no secret that talent communities are rapidly becoming the favoured approach to active sourcing. Regular social engagement ensures a steady stream of interested applicants and ultimately the career portal serves as the end goal of these efforts.

Best Practice companies however, ensure it’s a two way street by enabling social sharing options on the career portal itself and thus encouraging further exposure.

Use Video

Video is so mainstream these days that it has become somewhat of a basic recruitment requirement. Including a corporate video on the company career portal is an ideal way to illustrate the benefits of your company, in a highly shareable form to boot.


All in all, a successful career portal puts candidates first. In order to attract top talent you must be winning applicants via social media, impressing candidates with first-rate user experience, adapting to mobile technology and wowing your audience with video. Sounds like a challenge right? Don’t worry it needn’t be that hard.

How Softgarden Can Help

As usual I’ll take the opportunity to add any information regarding softgarden and how our recruitment software can aid the topics covered today. For those of you who have yet to try softgarden it’s free to use for a trial period of 14 days.

In regards to kitting you out with a career portal fit for the 21st century, I can safely say that we’re able to cover everything mentioned in this article apart from actually making your company video. As fun as that would be, I’m afraid that’s up to you.

However, softgarden 100% guarantees the following:

  • A user friendly career portal
  • A quick job application and immediate response
  • Social sharing features
  • A mobile friendly career portal

But don’t just take my word for it, our clients Fresenius were voted No.1 for the best online application for the last two years in a row by Potentialpark. Why not sign up for the free trial and see what you think?

Try It out Here >>

Image reference: Flickr Wall Street Investing Group

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